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Trends Cell Biol. 2002 Aug;12(8):382-9.

The inner lives of focal adhesions.

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Dept of Pathology, Centre Médical Universitaire, 1 Rue Michel-Servet, 1211 4, Genève, Switzerland.


In focal adhesions of eukaryotic cells, transmembrane receptors of the integrin family and a large set of adaptor proteins form the physical link between the extracellular substrate and the actin cytoskeleton. During cell migration, nascent focal adhesions within filopodia and lamellipodia make the initial exploratory contacts with the cellular environment, whereas maturing focal adhesions pull the cell forward against the resistance of 'sliding' focal adhesions at the cell rear. Experimental approaches are now available for analysing the dynamics and interior structure of these different focal adhesions. Analysing focal-adhesion dynamics using green-fluorescent-protein-linked integrin leads us to propose that the acto-myosin-controlled density and turnover of integrins in focal adhesions is used to sense the elasticity and spacing of extracellular ligands, regulating cell migration by mechanically transduced signaling.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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